book notices: two encyclpedias f rom Routledge: An Encyclopaedia of Language and Encyclopedia of the World ’s Endangered Languages

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Oct 1 15:24:58 UTC 2008

1. N. E. Collinge, "An Encyclopaedia of Language"
Routledge l PDF l 570 Pages l 5 MB

In this indispensable reference, twenty-nine leaders in the field describe
how language works–accounting for its nature, use, study, and history. An
Encyclopaedia of Language provides a truly comprehensive overview of how the
various branches of linguistic study have arrived at their current
positions. It divides the subject into three logical sections: 1) the "inner
nature" of language; 2) its interaction with other disciplines; and 3) some
special aspects of its study and use.

Readers will find detailed coverage of: how language works; how language is
taught and learned; phonetics; grammar and semantics; how linguists research
their subjects and interpret results; second languages; language and
computation; writing systems; the history of language study; the evolution
of language; the distribution of languages around the world; lexicography;
dialectology; and other topics.

2. Christopher Moseley, "Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages"
Routledge l PDF l 688 Pages l 5.3 MB

The concern for the fast-disappearing language stocks of the world has
arisen particularly in the past decade, as a result of the impact of
globalization. This book appears as an answer to a felt need: to catalogue
and describe those languages, making up the vast majority of the world's six
thousand or more distinct tongues, which are in danger of disappearing
within the next few decades.

Endangerment is a complex issue, and the reasons why so many of the world's
smaller, less empowered languages are not being passed on to future
generations today are discussed in the book's introduction. The introduction
is followed by regional sections, each authored by a notable specialist,
combining to provide a comprehensive listing of every language which, by the
criteria of endangerment set out in the introduction, is likely to disappear
within the next few decades. These languages make up ninety per cent of the
world's remaining language stocks.

Each regional section comprises an introduction that deals with problems of
language preservation peculiar to the area, surveys of known extinct
languages, and problems of classification. The introduction is followed by a
list of all known languages within the region, endangered or not, arranged
by genetic affiliation, with endangered and extinct languages marked. This
listing is followed by entries in alphabetical order covering each language
listed as endangered. Useful maps are provided to pinpoint the more complex
clusters of smaller languages in every region of the world.

The Encyclopedia therefore provides in a single resource: expert analysis of
the current language policy situation in every multilingual country and on
every continent, detailed descriptions of little-known languages from all
over the world, and clear alphabetical entries, region by region, of all the
world's languages currently thought to be in danger of extinction.
The Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages will be a necessary
addition to all academic linguistics collections and will be a useful
resource for a range of readers with an interest in development studies,
cultural heritage and international affairs.

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